Wonyip Park

John and Jane Archibald, together with their children, Fletcher and Matilda run their beef cattle operation known as Wonyip Park in the fertile Murrindindi Valley around 90k North East of Melbourne, close to the township of Yea. 

Wonyip Park was already a farm highly regarded within the district when John and Jane purchased it in 2014.  They relocated their small herd of 20 Murray Grey cows and calves from a smaller property they still own nearby at Glenburn.  Steadily the herd was built up over the years to around the 100 cows and calves they tend today. 

While the farm was in generally good order when they took over in 2014 there was still improvements to be made.  Enhancements to laneways and cattle handling facilities, as well as the relocation of an original Southern Cross windmill are just some of the tasks that John and Jane have undertaken to improve their farm, cattle handling and productivity over the years. 

John has always been hands on but wasn’t born into farming.  A qualified boilermaker with a background in earthworks and machinery, he is always keen to rise to a new challenge.  John is handy with repairing most machinery which is a useful skill to have on a farm!

Jane too was not born into farming, rather she worked in admin at one of Melbourne’s Universities until becoming a parent to Fletcher and Matilda in 2006.  Her love of horses as a girl meant that caring for large animals was nothing new to her and Jane is highly skilled and happy on the farm working with cattle and the land. 

Why Provenir? 

“With so many big players in the beef cattle industry riding on the good will of people who love their work with the land and animals it is refreshing for us to partner with Provenir knowing their values with regards to animal welfare, minimising stress and also environmental considerations align with our own values.” – John and Jane Archibald.

A turning point in the Archibald’s farming operation came about through a casual conversation, recalls John.  

“One day I told someone that we run a beef cattle farm and their response was “Oh great, can I buy some beef?”  Knowing that this was not possible at the time the question I found myself asking was simply “Why?”.

So began a quest to change the situation and take back control of where their beef was sold, how it was processed and who’s plate it ended up on.  Initially John and Jane began transporting cattle themselves, two at a time, to an approved facility for processing.  The Archibald’s then sold the butchered and packaged beef to people in their community.  They loved being able to supply their own beef, knowing it was being enjoyed people in their community.  But selling their own beef was a lot of hard work and John and Jane were in the business of farming, not marketing and selling meat, plus this new endeavour still involved the transporting of animals for processing which did not sit entirely well with them.   

The Archibald’s then heard about Provenir and the on-farm abattoir that was eliminating animal stress caused by live transport, to them this process made much more sense. 

Farm fast facts

Farm NameWonyip Park
RegionCentral Victoria
Farm Size150 hectares
How many cattle?100 breeding cows and heifers and two bulls
Who works on the farm?

John and Jane live and work on the farm, together with their twins Fletcher and Matilda.

Bindi the families Kelpie also helps out on the farm.

Favourite beef meal?Slow Cooked Beef Brisket
What do you love about farming?What we love about farming is the same thing we hate about it. The challenge!

Heritage

Wonyip is a small rural location in Gippsland overlooking Corner Inlet, where the previous owners of Wonyip Park lived.  When they established Wonyip Park as a farm in the Murrindindi Valley in 2000 with it’s park like setting it seemed appropriate to them to name their farm Wonyip Park.

John and Jane purchased the farm in 2014 and with its reputation as a well organised, respected and established farming operation within the district they retained the name Wonyip Park.

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“Farming has a way of pulling you in. We both grew up in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne and purchased our first 90acre farm in 2003, soon after settling on the farm we were married and we then purchased our first small herd of cattle. From that point we were hooked.”

– John Archibald

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Livestock

  “We aim to produce premium quality beef in an ethical, sustainable, cooperative manner.”  – John and Jane Archibald.

John and Jane began with a small herd of Murray Grey cattle, before expanding their herd with Angus and Angus X cattle. 

The Archibald family predominantly used locally sourced cattle to build their herd with most animals sourced from as little as 2km to around 10km away.

More recently Wonyip Park has welcomed Phoenix, a Speckle Park bull to the farm.  Speckle Park cattle are known for their distinct and pretty black and white speckled coats, but it was their docile yet hardy nature and red-meat yield and marbling which attracted John and Jane to introduce the breed to Wonyip Park.

Phoenix will work to diversify the breeding program and introduce these quality traits to Wonyip Park’s predominantly Angus cow herd. 

Following Phoenix’s arrival Wonyip Park’s first F1 Speckle Park calf was born in July of 2021, with the second and third Speckle Park, twin calves, born soon afterwards.  The Archibald family are excited about their future farming with Speckle Park cattle.   

John and Jane’s livestock handing practices are non-intensive ensuring a low stress environment for the breeding and fattening of their beef cattle.

  “We aim to produce premium quality beef in an ethical, sustainable, cooperative manner.”  – John and Jane Archibald.

Why we farm

“Farming has a way of pulling you in.  We both grew up in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne and purchased our first 90 acre farm in 2003, soon after settling on the farm we were married and we then purchased our first small herd of cattle. From that point we were hooked.”  – John Archibald

 

It was John and Jane‘s love of the outdoors that initially attracted them both to farming. 

The more John and Jane learnt the more they knew what they didn’t know.  Animal health, husbandry, soil care, fencing and farm maintenance, the list goes on.  The family love living and working on the land, it keeps them physically and mentally active.

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The Land

  “All the work you do in your paddocks is about the final product, the meat that we are eating.”  – John Archibald.

John and Jane are always looking for better ways to do things on the farm.  In an industry steeped in tradition and being relatively new to farming they also have the advantage that they are not restricted in their thinking of how “things are done”. 

Wonyip Park itself consists mostly of open, gently undulating country with clusters of native trees to compliment biodiversity.  The clean air and reliable rainfall provides year round lush pasture to ensure their cattle grow well in optimum conditions.  Rotational grazing methods and a modern trough, irrigation and fencing system provide access for cattle to high quality water and feed from native and improved pastures. 

The Archibald’s have planted numerous trees, fenced gullies and waterways, and are trialling organic fertilisers including chook manure and worm castings on their pastures.  They have fenced off and de-sludged dams, giving nature a helping hand to take its course and transform muddle puddles to pools of fresh drinking water which is pumped into troughs for livestock.

The Archibald’s are looking to utilise good old fashioned sustainable technology, harnessing the power of gravity and the wind with a restored Southern Cross windmill rather than relying upon an electric bore pump.  They are also embracing new technology, incorporating a sophisticated mobile App in their farming operation, which allows them to remotely monitor the electric fence system capacity throughout the farm from anywhere via their phone.  An electronic Bluetooth system is utilised to track the growth and performance of their cattle so they can learn, respond and work to improve their management practices over time.

Supplementary feed comes from hay and silage cut from the Archibald’s own paddocks.  Produced during the favourable Spring months, they are self-sufficient and can ensure absolute control of animal feed requirements throughout the seasons.